Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tricky, Tricky, Tricky

I try not to be skeptical.
I try to think the best of situations.
I try not to look for the catch.

I'm sitting in Starbucks looking at their new promotional materials. The ask the question, "Can we buy you a drink?" This year they've rebranded their rewards cards in an effort to "serve their customers better". The short of it is this, if you earn enough points to get a Gold Card, you get every 15th drink free. What could be better than free drinks? How about more free drinks?

The Gold Card is a replacement for the black card. Last year you could buy a black card and anytime you used it, you got 10% off any drink. To compare - Gold Card = 15th drink free. Black Card = 10% off. A little math shows the clever little catch. Assuming you had the Black Card, you were actually getting every 10th drink free, you just didn't get it all at once. They've reduced the benefit by 50% and claim its an upgrade. Tricky.

Free Drinks! It sounds good. It sounds good. It sounds like a deal. It's a trick.

Freedom can work the same way. There's an enemy out there that tries to sell us a warped version of freedom. "Do whatever you want." "You're your own boss." "You deserve to be happy." "You've suffered long enough." "Who knows better than you?" "It won't hurt." "What do they know?" "What is right for you is right." "It can all be yours." "Just try it, you'll like it." "Nobody will ever know." "You can make up for it later." "The ends justify the means." "Just this once."

The idea is that freedom is doing whatever you want, whenever you want with whoever you want for whatever reason you want and as often as you want. It boils down to a bristling, "Nobody can tell me what to do." It's a trick.

There is a world out there that wants to imprison us with fear, with guilt, with addiction, with a need for attention, with bonds that we think are just a part of life. This twisted version of "freedom" is a trap to lure us in. It is a bait and switch. We're offered freedom from everything outside, when we really need freedom from ourselves. Tricky.

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